Valentines day is not a thing. Whoop whoop! February 14th still was, however, a day to eat chocolate as I mourn because it was the 6 month mark on my mission. This I am not okay with.
(Reason #155, if you are wondering, is the Brazilians love for cheese. I met a couple yesterday and literally the first thing they asked me was if I liked Gorganzola... ummmm YES.)
Besides my denial of how fast my mission is going, this week we witnessed a lot of really miraculous things... after really bummer days.
There was one day in particular where literally every single one of our appointments and plans fell through. I had not experienced anything like it yet. We were really discouraged, walking the streets, having exhausted all of our options, when we ran into our friend Rafa. We told him about our day and how bummed out we were and he lit up and said "I know what you can do! There is a family down the street who has not been to church in years."
So we went a knock knockin at their door (clapping, actually), and we met an older couple. A sweet old man named irmão Jurado welcomed us and we met his wife, who was laying on a bed in the living room, almost lifeless. He told us that she had suffered a series of strokes. He told us that he had not come to church since she had her stroke because he cannot leave her home alone. In a series of ward boundary and leadership changes, they had gotten lost in the shuffle. He told us that he served in the bishopric for 10 years and would bring the sacrament to the sick and afflicted every single. He told us that he felt abandoned.
We told him things would be different now. Our bishop came to meet them and shared a message with them. Irmão Jarudo stood up afterwards with tears in his eyes and told us that he had turned away from God, but that he wanted to come back., he came to church for the first time in years. He was embraced by old and new friends. I sat back and watched it all happen and watched as Lapenta and Rafael passed the sacrament for the first time in their white shirts and ties, and I just cried and cried and cried.
“Being blessed with hope, let us, as disciples, reach out to all who, for whatever reason, have ‘moved away from the hope of the gospel’ (Col. ). Let us reach to lift hands which hang hopelessly down.”
No matter how dark things seem or how far gone we think we may be, there is always hope for the future. A hope and peace and happiness that only the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring to us!
Então... continuar a nadar! Eu amo vocês!